Feast of the Holy Family, Friday, December 30, 2022
Sir 3-2-6, 12-14; Ps 128:1-5 Mt 2:13-15, 19-23
I was watching a new episode of “The Chosen” the other night. It was right after the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus called the disciples together before they split up for some R&R. As they were talking, Jesus reminded them they should make sure they were right with everyone in their family. If they had left on bad terms, they should go back and apologize. Matthew was very perplexed because ever since he had become a tax collector, his family had basically disowned him. One of the last things he did before he went to follow Jesus, was give his home to his parents. Not knowing where else to go, he went back to his former house. Hoping to reconcile himself with his parents, he tentatively knocked on the door and his father answered. There was a tense moment, but then his father warmed up, called him son, and they were reconciled.
I also came across some information recently that was quite disturbing. In certain colleges today, they are telling incoming freshmen to not refer to their parents as “mother” or “father,” but to refer to them as “responsible caregiver” or “supporter.” Mothers were no longer called “mothers,” but “child bearers;” and “fathers” were called “supportive humans,” no gender allowed. In addition, you could not call your boyfriend or girlfriend that anymore either, they had to be called “partner,” “beloved,” or “lover.” I really do not understand any of this, biology has not changed, and if they are not your parents, who are they?
The feast of the Holy Family is the perfect time for us to reflect on our lives and our own families. Like Matthew, we need to be reconciled with one another. It hurts to be separated from our loved ones, and even if we live different lives, we need to make sure they know we love them, regardless of their home life, situation, or lifestyle. We can, and must, turn to the Holy Family to learn what a family should be like. We all cannot be a perfect family like Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, but if we look at the messages in the readings today, it’s one of hope, one of love, and one of forgiveness. I love the statue at St. James of St. Joseph and the baby Jesus, because every time I gaze upon it, I see a man who absolutely loves his Son and is not afraid to show it. It reminds us of how precious our children are, true gifts from God, and how much they need us, their parents. Yes, their mother and father, to guide them through life.
Like the message the angel gave Joseph about Herod, our society is pushing to do the same thing and kill the family. It is a struggle with all these distractions, but we have hope. All we have to do is listen to God and be obedient to His plan for us. Listen to Him and follow Him, even when we may not understand the path we are going down; like Mary and Joseph did with Jesus. As parents, we need to be understanding, loving, and caring toward our children. That does not mean we roll over to every one of their wishes, it means we look back to God for His guidance, His love, and our obedience to Him. And then, carry this on to our own children as we nurture them and build them up so they, too, can advance in wisdom and grace, just like Jesus did.